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Family held hostage by Taliban group freed after 5 years

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Kabul [Afghanistan] | October 12, 2017 12:01:13 AM IST
An American woman, her Canadian husband and their three young children, who were captive since 2012 by the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network, were freed in a joint operation involving the US. intelligence and the Pakistani forces.

The operation that set Coleman, Boyle and their children free was undertaken by Pakistani forces, based on actionable intelligence provided by U.S. authorities. The American intelligence agencies, who were tracking the hostages, shared the location with their Pakistani counterparts, when the hostages were shifted into Pakistani territory on Wednesday, Fox news quoted Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement, the media wing of the Pakistan Armed Forces.

Caitlan Coleman, 32, was seven months pregnant when she and her husband, Josh Boyle, were abducted. The U.S. intelligence officials believed the couple Caitlan Coleman and her husband Joshua Boyle were abducted in 2012 while travelling in Afghanistan and were held captive by the Haqqani network, a branch of the Taliban.

"They were captured by terrorists from Afghanistan during 2012 and kept as hostages there. US intelligence agencies had been tracking them and shared their shifting across to Pakistan on 11 Oct 2017 through Kurram Agency border," a statement by the Pakistani army said.

"All hostages were recovered safe and sound and are being repatriated to the country of their origin," the statement added.

In December the commander of US forces in Afghanistan, Gen. John Nicholson, said the Haqqani Network held a total of five American hostages.

United States President Donald Trump provided a clue of Coleman's release during his speech in Coleman's home state of Pennsylvania on Wednesday, when he said, "something happened today where a country that totally disrespected us called with some very, very important news."

"The success underscores the importance of timely intelligence sharing and Pakistan's continued commitment towards fighting this menace through cooperation between two forces against a common enemy."

The couple were last seen in a video released in December last year, where they pleaded for their governments to help free them.

Coleman's parents, Jim and Lyn Coleman, last heard from their son-in-law on October 8, 2012, from an internet cafe in what Josh described as an "unsafe" part of Afghanistan, Fox News reported. (ANI)

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